I love salads. I think this deep love blossomed when I was a young girl. Aside from the fact that ranch dressing is my absolute favorite condiment on the planet and I would dip anything in it, all salads are delightful. I remember going to salad buffets like Sweet Tomatoes or Souper Salad with my family and just loving it! When we moved to Oregon a few years ago I breathed a huge sigh of relief knowing there were a couple of Sweet Tomatoes around. Check! Caesar salad is a special salad. Traditionally the dressing is made with lots of parmesan cheese and *ahem* anchovies plus some raw eggs. Mmm right? Not so much. I love this version I am showing you today. This dressing is very light and has some nice zing in it. Using only Greek yogurt, olive oil, Dijon mustard, garlic, and the special ingredient, malt vinegar, it makes a delightful dressing. No anchovies here! Add some grilled chicken, a little parmesan, some homemade baguette toasts, and nutty sunflower seeds and you my friend have a summery lunch or light dinner. You will never want to order this at a restaurant again, plus you will not feel guilty after eating this much lighter version of the classic.
For the salad:
8 oz. chicken breast, skinless
4 (melba thin) slices of baguette cut on the diagonal. Plus a little olive oil to brush onto toast before broiling in hot oven
½ garlic clove
2 heads romaine lettuce
2 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan
1 tablespoon sunflower seeds
For the dressing:
2 tablespoons fat-free Greek yogurt
The other ½ garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard (honey mustard is acceptable too)
1 teaspoon malt vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Preheat broiler in oven.
2. Using a grill, grill pan, George Forman, or Panini press cook chicken. Season chicken with a little salt, pepper, and garlic powder if desired. Spray hot pan with cooking spray. Cook chicken 4-5 minutes a side, or 4-5 minutes total if using a George Forman type grill or Panini grill.
3. While chicken is cooking, prepare the baguette toast. On a cooking sheet, place diagonally cut bread and brush a little olive oil on tops. Broil for one minute, watching that they do not burn. I found the sweet spot for the bread was one minute and ten seconds, but as long as they are not burned, you are golden. Take ½ garlic clove and rub the top of the toasts.
4. Once chicken is done cooking and have strong grill marks remove from grill and let rest on a plate.
5. Meanwhile wash lettuce and spin dry.
6. To make the dressing, combine all ingredients in a large bowl, and whisk together. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Put the washed lettuce in the bowl with the dressing. Toss for a couple of minutes to make sure all the leaves are evenly coated. Add the grated Parmesan. Toss again.
7. Cut chicken. I like strips, but cut however you wish.
8. Plating time! On two plates add the tossed salad. Next, evenly distribute the grilled chicken.
9. Tuck the crispy baguette toasts on the side of the salad. Finally grind some black pepper, scatter the sunflower seeds, and serve.
– You may use croutons if you are pressed for time. I usually do not even have the toasts or croutons at all but they are nice!
– By all means you can use cut up rotisserie chicken.
– If you find your dressing too thick, slowly add a little more olive oil whisking the entire time.
– If you think real garlic is too strong you may use a pinch of garlic powder instead.
– In the book it says each serving is only 445 calories! They even use a soft-boiled egg on top of the salad, which I skipped so my version is less than yet.
Adapted from: “Chicken Caesar Salad.” Recipe. Cook Yourself Thin. New York:
Hyperion, 2009. 107-109. Print.